Science fiction romance is a small subgenre. Thankfully, I was introduced to Susan Grant’s work last year, and soon began buying up all of her books that I could find. Frequent visitors to this site know that this author has fast become a favorite of mine.
Susan was kind enough to consent to an interview in honor of her new release How to Lose an Extraterrestrial in 10 Days, third in her Otherworldly Men series. I was able to read it early and posted the review here.
On with the interview…
Angela/SciFiChick: Tell us a little about How to Lose an Extraterrestrial in 10 Days.
Susan Grant: ItÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s the third and final book in the rather light-hearted Otherworldly Men series concerning a California political family (think: Kennedys) and the alien invasion they must thwart. Ã¢â‚¬Å“ET,Ã¢â‚¬Â however, takes a more serious turn due to some of the subject matter. Reef, the newly dismantled bio-engineered assassin from book 1 and 2 must finish his rehabilitation as a normal human in the home of a suburban single mom and her two children. I feel it stands alone well if you donÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t mind a few pages to get caught up with a series book.
Angela: Did you know you were going to write ReefÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s story when you were writing Your Planet or Mine?
Grant: Absolutely not. I admit I do enjoy seeing the villains in my stories turn into the heroes of future books, but when I wrote Reef in the role as an assassin, I thought: no way is this particular bad boy ever gonna be hero material. Not only was he a career killer, he wasnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t 100% human. He was as cold and heartless as the hardware installed inside his body. It wasnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t until he was settling in for a long night in a vacant warehouse that I saw what heÃ¢â‚¬â„¢d been hiding: My ruthless, extraterrestrial killer was in fact lost and alone–and had every reason to feel that way.
From then on, Reef fascinated me. Knowing what I now did about his background, I was determined to give him the happy ending he deserved.
Angela: Reef was the villain in Your Planet or Mine? and the hero in How to Lose an Extraterrestrial in 10 Days. I think that qualifies as a complex character! Was his character and redemption difficult to write?
Grant: Sometimes, but Reef was one of the most enjoyable characters IÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ve ever thought up to write. It made creating his story so enjoyable. YouÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ve read the book, so I canÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t say more, but suffice it to say, Reef had reasons to be the way he was, and to do the things he did. If any difficulties arose, they didnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t grow out of my ability as the author to redeem him, but the characterÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s struggles with the ability to grant himself redemption.
Angela: What has been your favorite story to write and research?
Grant: Most times I see research as a necessary evil. I prefer to write what I know so as to avoid massive research. ThatÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s why so many of my books center on the military (or fictional shipboard/airplane life, chain of command, etc) or flying, or visiting exotic places, because I have experienced those things for myself. If I had to choose a favorite based on the research, I have to say I enjoyed the 2176 series the most (The Legend of Banzai Maguire, The Scarlet Empress) because I learned so much about American Revolutionary history, and cool technologies like magnetic levitation.
Angela: It sounds like you love being a pilot. How did you decide you wanted to write a novel?
Grant: IÃ¢â‚¬â„¢d leave flying in a heartbeat if the writing allowed. Fingers crossed I can someday reach the level of success needed to do that. But for now, supporting my family must come first (I am a single mom), and so I continue flying for an airline, not a lot of fun post-9-11, and post ravaging of pilotÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s pensions and quality of life by greedy execs. But thatÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s another soapbox for another day…
I have always been creative, and need to create. I always enjoyed writing, but never thought to attempt a novel until I met another mom whoÃ¢â‚¬â„¢d written a novel. She hadnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t published it but I was so taken with the idea of writing a book, I thought: if she can write a novel, I can write a novel! And so I did. That was 1997. It ended up being a massive historical saga with no SF whatsoever! It remains Ã¢â‚¬Å“under the bed.Ã¢â‚¬Â I changed directions and started writing a blend of SF and romance, and sold a little over a year after completing the book, a miracle in this tough-to-sell industry. That was in 1999. IÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ve been lucky to have been published continuously ever since.
Angela: Do you ever think about giving up flying fulltime to write fulltime?
Grant: As I mentioned above, all the time! Between the air force which I loved and over 18 years with the airlines, I have over 26 years of professional flying behind me. ItÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s been a great career but I am ready for a new path.
Angela: Science fiction romance is such a unique subgenre. How did you decide to begin writing it?
Grant: Simply put: it was a natural fit. I loved reading and watching SFR. So, I wrote what I could never find enough of on the shelves.
Angela: Who are some of your favorite authors? What books do you love?
Grant: Here are a few of many favorite books & authors IÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ve read and enjoyed over the years:
Ã¢â‚¬Â¢ Warprize by Elizabeth Vaughan
Ã¢â‚¬Â¢ Primary Inversion by Catherine Asaro
Ã¢â‚¬Â¢ The Radiant Seas by Catherine Asaro
Ã¢â‚¬Â¢ The Valley of Horses by Jean Auel
Ã¢â‚¬Â¢ Lucifer’s Hammer by Larry Niven
Ã¢â‚¬Â¢ Voyager by Diana Galbadon
Ã¢â‚¬Â¢ Moonfall by Jack McDevitt
Ã¢â‚¬Â¢ Nobody’s Baby But Mine by Susan Elizabeth Phillips
Ã¢â‚¬Â¢ I Was Amelia Earhart by Jane Mendelsohn
Ã¢â‚¬Â¢ One Perfect Rose by Mary Jo Putney
Ã¢â‚¬Â¢ The Rake by Mary Jo Putney
Ã¢â‚¬Â¢ Anything that Linnea Sinclair writes
As you can see, there’s a heavy romantic SF slant and I do love disaster books. But also romance. I loved the Vaughan War trilogy, and also highly recommend Linnea SinclairÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s books.
Angela: What inspires you?
Grant: Great SFR movies and TV. Also experiences I have in my every-day life. For instance, I am answering these questions onboard a ship returning from almost 2 weeks of exploring Russia and Scandinavia on vacation. I saw the most amazing things, and feel the muse pumped up with great new ideas!
Angela: When youÃ¢â‚¬â„¢re not traveling the globe, what do you do for fun or in your spare time?
Grant: …and when IÃ¢â‚¬â„¢m not writing and not being mom? I slack. 🙂
Angela: What are you working on now? What releases can we look for in the future?
Grant: I am incredibly excited about my next book. ItÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s called Moonstruck: A Tale of the Borderlands. ItÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s a darker, more complex series spin-off of the Otherworldly Men series, and kicks off the Borderlands books, what I hope will be an ongoing SFR series. Moonstruck takes place almost entirely on a spaceship after the Drakken surrender and concerns the difficulties in combining the former enemies (as well as Earth) in a cohesive force. They have to learn to work together, and it makes for some great conflict! I pair a female admiral, who I loved writing, paired with a Hordish second-in-command and former pirate, and a mixed crew of Drakken, Coalition, and Earthlings. I hope to reach more SF readers with this one, and feel it holds up very well as a SF tale due to the more complex world-building.
HereÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s the cover quote: Ã¢â‚¬Å“Grant delivers a riveting plot, compelling characters and a heart wrenching love storyÃ¢â‚¬Â¦.This is a canÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t-put-down read that draws you in from the first page and doesnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t let go until the tension-filled final chapters. I highly recommend it.Ã¢â‚¬Â
Ã¢â‚¬â€Linnea Sinclair, RITA award winning author of Games of Command and The Down Home Zombie Blues
Can I say again how excited I am for this one to come out? ItÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s due on the shelves end of May 2008.
Angela: Thanks for your time! Is there anything else youÃ¢â‚¬â„¢d like to add?
Grant: Yes–my heartfelt thanks for your fantastic blog and all the support youÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ve shown SF Romance and Romantic SF writers in showcasing our work in your thoughtful reviews and interviews. WeÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ve long been the poor step-sister of genres due to our mixed heritage, and support like yours is a tremendous help in getting word out about our books.
How to Lose an Extraterrestrial in 10 Days is available July 25th.
Reviews of GrantÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s novels in the Otherworldly Men series: